New Friends & Neighboring Sister Queens:
Team Tampa Bay Takes the Miss Tampa USA Pageant

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I feel like my life has been a complete blur over the past few months, and I can say with 100% certainty that I’m not sufficiently preparing for the state pageant in July. Luckily, I had a little premonition of the work that lies ahead at the Miss Tampa USA Pageant last weekend. The girls were all eloquent and stunning, and as always, I had a fabulous time playing backstage with the contestants, visiting queens, and the Tel-Air gang. When they say “Miss Florida USA is a family,” they mean it. We’re always welcomed with smiles and open arms, and it’s so nice, especially since I’m a newbie in the USA system.


Oh, and I got to reunite with the ultimate 813 princess and my teen sister queen, Amanda! I donned a waved rhinestoned black stud dress from Arden B, in addition to my sparkly grown and highest black heels, and we spent the majority of our down time catching up and taking selfies, obviously.


Dress: Arden B | Shoes: Aldo (no longer available), Similar Here | Watch: Kate Spade | Bracelet: David Yurman


This girl (above), who is the reigning Miss Central Florida USA, is 5’11” and makes me feel like I belong in the teen division. She’s also the sweetest thing in the entire world, so I’ll gladly embrace my midg status to be friends with her.


After an impromptu pre-pageant fashion shoot, it was time to shine on stage… not us, but the contestants, of course. Luckily, my role in the actual pageant was minimal, considering I arrived 30 minutes before showtime. Darn you, IIFA traffic! I did get to ask all the girls their on-stage questions, which is great for two reasons: 1. It’s easy and 2. Smiling and making small talk is a great way to calm their nerves. Nobody wants a “they don’t have maps, like such as the Iraq, like such as” situation on their hands, especially not me when it’s my job to move the phase along smoothly.



After on-stage question, swimsuit, and evening gown were donezo, it was time for the judges to tally their scores. This truly was an outstanding group of girls, so it’s no surprise that the final score tallying took a great deal of time. To pass the awkward silence in the interim, I was called on stage for an interview… again… so Amber, the lovely outgoing Miss Hillsborough County USA, seized the opportunity to talk about my charity and the motivation/mission behind it. I could talk for days about Hooked on Books, so I was glad my rambling could promote a great cause and help keep the crowd somewhat entertained simultaneously.


After approximately 25 minutes of chatting, one adorable teen and two gorgeous miss contestants were crowned. Since there was over 6 contestants (I think that’s how it works– again, my newb status keeps me out of the loop), the new Miss Clearwater USA and Miss Tampa USA were crowned, and I am so excited to get to know these ladies better over the next year. Such beauty, brains, and heart!



So what’s next on Miss Tampa Bay USA’s agenda? Honestly, who the heck knows?! I hear Shaun T calling my name. Although I promised myself I wouldn’t go full exercise nazi this round, after a fresh look at some of my modelesque and all-around perfect competition, I’m going to have to work… to put it lightly. I’m up for it, assuming my workload at my day job doesn’t kill me first. Fingers crossed!



♥ Stephanie


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Team Tampa Bay Takes the Miss Tampa USA Pageant

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